• Poetry Jazz: Wax and Gold
    Olafur Eliasson, Eric Ellingsen, and Christina Werner
    Institut für Raumexperimente e.V., 2019
    Institut für Raumexperimente:
    Olafur Eliasson,
    Eric Ellingsen &
    Christina Werner

Festival of Future Nows, Institut für Raumexperimente, Berlin University of the Arts in collaboration with and at the Neue Nationalgalerie, 2014, Berlin, Germany. Photo: Institut für Raumexperimente, UdK Berlin.

The publication's topics arise a long-term collaborative education experiment coproduced by the Institut für Raumexperimente, Berlin, together with thinkers, poets, and musicians based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Poetry Jazz: Wax and Gold revolves around the questions of how to make a work of art, to write a poem, to create a song, to choreograph movement, or to design a shared space is to shape reality. It means gradually giving ideas and values a body, giving them space, letting them space. Édouard Glissant writes in Poetics of Relation: "Thinking thought usually amounts to withdrawing into a dimensionless place in which the idea of thought alone persists. But thought in reality spaces itself out into the world. It informs the imaginary of peoples, their varied poetics, which it then transforms, meaning, in them its risk becomes realized."

Olafur Eliasson founded the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments) as a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) together with his codirectors, Eric Ellingsen and Christina Werner. From 2009 to 2014, the Institut für Raumexperimente developed as an art education research project, housed in the same building as Studio Olafur Eliasson. One of the central tenets in the methodology of the Institut für Raumexperimente is to curate learning situations of uncertain certainty. These teaching experiments allow unexpected and surprising ideas and energies to emerge from within the unique micro-ecologies of international guests, practitioners, educators, and scientists participating across an expanse of different disciplines. Eliasson is an artist living and working in Copenhagen and Berlin. His work spans from installation and sculpture to photography and film and has been exhibited worldwide in institutions, such as MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Venice Biennale. Architectural works include Your Rainbow Panorama, for ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, and Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, with Henning Larsen Architects. Established in 1995, his Berlin studio numbers eighty craftsmen, architects, and art historians. 121Ethiopia was founded in 2005 by Eliasson and art historian Marianne Krogh Jensen, as a small international NGO that works to improve the lives and conditions of children in Ethiopia.

From 2009 through 2014, Eric Ellingsen codirected and taught at Institut für Raumexperimente. During his time there, Ellingsen worked to cultivate new critical spatial modes, methods, and models for teaching and practice. He has served as the assistant director of the Master of Landscape Architecture program and visiting assistant professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Previous teaching appointments include the Mitchell Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting critic at Cornell University, and lecturer at the University of Toronto. Recent and forthcoming publications include Twisted (Broken Dimanche Press, 2017), GAM. 13: Spatial Expeditions (Graz Architecture Press, 2016), Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others (Lars Müller Publishers, 2015), MODELS, 306090 (Princeton Architecture Press, 2008), BOMB online, World Literature Today, and Forty-Five, a journal of outside research. Ellingsen works and exhibits internationally, including at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago. Ellingsen is currently a tenure-track assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, St Louis.

Christina Werner is the codirector of the Institut für Raumexperimente since its inception in 2009. She is coinitiator of the project Acting Archives–Media Lab for Artistic Research and Education, which develops collaborative and educational programs between Ethiopian, German, and international artists and theorists on the subject of artistic research and archiving. She is curator and facilitator for projects such as Festival of Future Nows (Berlin, 2017/2014); the poetry collaboration Poetry Jazz: Wax and Gold (2012-ongoing); the competition for an artwork for the African Union’s Peace and Security Building and its realization by artist Emeka Ogboh (Addis Ababa, 2016), the accompanying exhibition Emeka Ogboh: Playback (Addis Ababa, 2016; Berlin, 2015), the conference Future Memories (Addis Ababa, 2014). She was curating coordinator of the artist’s award and exhibition series ars viva from 2007 to 2009, and previously worked with galleries and art institutions, amongst others documenta 11 (Kassel, 2002).